Prabhat Jha is the inaugural University of Toronto endowed professor in disease control, co-investigator of the Disease Control Priorities Network, and expert adviser to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on HIV/AIDS control in India, and to various governments around the world on disease control strategies.
After graduating from Oxford a Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Jha spent nearly ten years at the World Bank, heading the team responsible for developing the Second National HIV/AIDS Control Program in India, and at the World Health Organization, where he led work on health and poverty for the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, establishing a reputation as a rising star in the world of global public health.
In 2002, he returned to Canada and took up positions as Canada Research Chair in Health and Development at the University of Toronto, and founding director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael's Hospital, which conducts research in developing countries aimed to improve the health of the global poor.
Currently, the Centre is in the midst of the Million Death Study, one of the largest public health studies in the world. Mr. Jha leads a team of 800 field researchers examining one million deaths in India and key contributing risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol, diet and environmental exposures. The aim is to understand the changing nature of disease in a country experiencing great social and economic transition.
Early results have found India is losing hundreds of thousands of girls every year to abortion, selective prenatal sex selection. These findings sparked a vigorous debate within India on the cultural norms that support this practice.
Nominator: Sujit Choudhry, Toronto